How is Helium extracted at Fresno Oxygen & Welding Supplies/Barnes Welding Supply

As of late there has been plenty discussion around the apparent lack of Helium accessible in Fresno and elsewhere around the world. This causes concern considering that this gas is utilized throughout multiple industries in Fresno. Uses for the gas include:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Lifting gas – for hot air balloons and smaller leisure balloons
  • Breathing Mixtures – for deep-water diving and medical applications
  • Welding Gas – used as a protective atmosphere

Helium is a result of radioactive decay in natural gas. Therefore since natural gas has the most volume of helium, most specialty gas laboratories like Fresno Oxygen & Welding Supplies/Barnes Welding Supply will get Helium via natural gas. There are also limited amounts of helium in the air which can also be extracted, however the process for that is expensive and rarely used.

Helium is sometimes extracted from natural gas through a cryogenic piping system. The natural gas is pressurized, and then passed through a sieve. Throughout the entire procedure, helium is separated from natural gas so that only crude helium remains. At this point, since the crude helium is only about 50% pure, increased purification processes are warranted.

The crude helium is then diminished to -315 degrees Fahrenheit so that any residual nitrogen or methane gases become liquefied and can be simply drained from the gas. The heat on the helium is then increased and oxygen is added to the gas so that any remaining particles of hydrogen will mix with the oxygen creating water. Once the water vapors are formed, the mixture is cooled back down and the water is drained from the mixture.

Once the water has been drained, the Helium then goes into containers filled with tiny particles for additional filtering of the gas (think of the carbon water filters in most homes in Fresno today). This activity is repeated until the Helium is 99.99% pure specialty gas.

We at Fresno Oxygen & Welding Supplies/Barnes Welding Supply take this filtering process very serious as multiple industries, from the healthcare industry to the food & beverage industry, rely on our specialty gases for the best possible experience.

To learn more on how your company can get the purest Helium in Fresno, contact Fresno Oxygen & Welding Supplies/Barnes Welding Supply today.